Urbanvolt Statement on Collapse of the SEAI Deep Retrofit Scheme

14 Aug 2019

Ireland’s leading green energy company warns:

● SEAI is not fit for purpose
● Grant-led approach is counterproductive – holding up massive investment while only benefiting a fraction of the market
● Government and SEAI proving to be a hindrance rather than a help to reduce energy consumption

Wednesday, August 14th 2019. The Chief Executive of leading Irish green energy company Urbanvolt said that the collapse of the SEAI Deep Retrofit Grant Scheme was just the latest signal that the SEAI is not fit for purpose. Kevin Maughan called for a fundamental review of the grant-obsessed approach to encourage take-up of environmentally-friendly initiatives.

Urbanvolt provides energy-efficient LED lighting systems to businesses in Ireland and abroad, providing substantial environmental and cost benefits and helping companies reduce their carbon footprint. The company was set up in Dublin in 2015 and 75% of the company’s work is now done abroad.

Speaking today, CEO Kevin Maughan said that government-administered grants are distorting the market; “When you make ‘free money’ available, nobody takes it seriously. And there is also no dependability as we’ve now seen with this Deep Retrofit Scheme being pulled with disastrous implications for impacted homeowners.”

“Investors have billions of euro to invest into driving real energy-efficiency proposals in Ireland and elsewhere. But investors hate uncertainty and the pulling of this latest grant with no notice will demonstrate again to sophisticated investors that there is no cohesion to the government strategy on promoting energy efficiency.”

“The government is not only failing to tackle climate change, but its policies are now hampering businesses and individuals from doing the right thing. It is not acceptable or reasonable for the Government to consistently change the goalposts.”

“For our biggest energy users, and where energy saving measures can have the biggest impact, our grant system does not encourage businesses to approach climate change in a meaningful way. Because ‘free money’ and ‘one-off’ grants are made available, many businesses don’t make a decision to invest in climate change and energy efficiency because they want to assess if they can get the grant or not. Then they realise the amount of paperwork and time involved, and they end up doing nothing. We have seen this happen time and time again. The reality is that a tiny amount of grant money impacts on less than 1% of the market, but it holds up 100% of the market from getting on and doing the things they need to do for their own businesses and for the environment.”

“This is a major reason why 75% of Urbanvolt’s business is outside Ireland, even though our energy-efficient solutions are highly profitable for our clients and, above all, are effective in reducing the carbon footprint of our clients.”

“As a nation we have consistently and depressingly failed to hit our climate change targets in Ireland, which has a knock-on effect on all areas of society – not least the commercial sector, where the most energy savings can be made. If we are to make any kind of progress on climate change, we need a scalable, long-term solution that works throughout the country and into which people and businesses can buy.

“The Government needs to stop paying lip service to climate change, and start properly addressing this emergency as a matter of urgency.”

Issued on behalf of Urbanvolt by Gordon MRM

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